Bad credit history is forgotten and written off in 7 years, a bad Karma doesn’t go away! False accusation, creating barriers for others to prevent them from becoming wealthy are examples of that.
We have seen it so many times in the past, a few wealthy employer changes the landscape of a city.
Stealing money, hiding income, tax fraud by claiming false deductions are the examples come to my mind.
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I like how you equate karma to Newton’s third law – never thought of it in that light! I believe all religions are based on some sound fundamentals which enable us to be on correct path. Yes actually Karma applies to all our actions, and finance is one of the most important among them. If one looks at the quantum of wealth that people in the 1% own, it is scary, it is often more than the defence budget of a large nation.
Even to run for for an election you need monetary resources to prove to your party that you are qualified candidate for the run.
If you follow along with the 7 incarnations then it is very good for your next life if you can build up good karma now. I know it is meant as a path of good to follow, but in practice what I often see is a sense of fatalism. I always sort of get caught up in all kinds of mental circles when I think about stuff like karma, but I do believe that doing things for the right reasons will get you a lot further than coming from a place of meanness or negativity. I am not religious and although I enjoyed the post I don’t think you needed to disclaim your beliefs several times on this post more than once. I never thought about karma in terms of my finances before, or anyone else’s for that matter.
I think this article is pretty accurate in saying that how you handle your finances does impact your true fortune. Book, film, and audio reviews of contemporary Gaudiya media, as well as a wide variety of media of interest to the spiritually minded. News from around the world with an emphasis on alternative press that is especially relevant to spiritual practitioners. Excerpts from classical Gaudiya texts, with and without commentaries, hosted by teachers with whom readers can interact and ask questions. Philosophical articles on Gaudiya Vaisnavism that focus on the tradition’s scriptural conclusions as well as its feeling for the nature of ultimate reality. The idea that everything is a product of karma is erroneous and simple-minded in the extreme, yet is accepted without question and even taught and transmitted by otherwise “respected” teachers.
The idea that karma is the only force operating in the universe feeds into this determinism—in most cases subconsciously—resulting in social attitudes in many Buddhist societies that are far a field of the compassion taught by the historical Buddha. Warmongering governments have institutionalized this distorted view, manipulatively using it to dismiss responsibility for loss of life in wartime, shifting the blame to the karma of the individual soldiers or innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.
An understanding of karma that allows indifference to suffering, and the active causation of it, is not only a perversion of Buddhist [and all other spiritual] teachings, it is directly antithetical to the process of awakening.
In the Theravadan school, the tradition of “the Teaching of The Elders” still practiced today in most of Southeast Asia, “karma” or “kamma” is defined as volitional action, while the term “vipaka” is used to denote the result of volitional action.
In a community that has been devastated by a passing tornado, some houses are completely destroyed, some are damaged, and some are left completely untouched. I think volition is an important element in karmic repercussions that is often not taken into consideration.
I agree that Rupa Goswami has discussed Karma with citation from Padma Purana in his beautiful Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu.
Therefore I have found the prescription of planetary mantras to be particularly helpful and useful for my astrology clients.
How and why this article appears on the front page of this Vaishnava website is questionable, as this sort of article can easily confuse and poison the mind of someone looking for information on bhakti-yoga and Vaishnavism. When visitors come to a Vaishnava website they expect to find some information about Vaishnavism, not some antagonist making absurd assumptions on a platform of flimsy understanding.
But I think the article brings up an interesting topic and popular misunderstandings of karma that need to be addressed, even while being not well informed about karma from the perspective of Vedanta. Sri Rupa has not gone into this topic to the degree that it is discussed in the field of astrology.
I find the calling of people mlecchas, yavanas, and rascals a gross disregard for human compassion and a VERY poor example of Vaisnava humility. Gurumaharaja, what I appreciate about your presentation of Gaudiya vaisnavism is that you apply GV priciples to the more progressive and generous dimensions of western culture rather than the conservative and restrictive. As far as I have observed, there is significant participation among Western Buddhist converts in various kinds of social activism. Although I don’t think the article is successful, it does reveal something about the challenges of articulating philosophical ideas (even timeless ones) in a modern and socially-aware context.
I think it behooves Gaudiya Vaisnavas to have a worldly motivated sector as well as an enlightenment oriented one.
However, the Christian missionary movements in Asian countries are very successful in converting followers. Of those that practice such giving or compassion and those that are converted by it, there is probably an inner circle who are interested in the enlightenment oriented dimension of their path. I think any kind of outreach specifically targeted at the western neo-Buddhists is a waste of time and effort.
I worked side-by-side with a nice guy for the last couple of years who subscribes to this modern westernized Buddhist movement.
There are some people who naively think that western Buddhists are just gullible people who can easily be enlightened with exposure to the Vaishnava theology.
Second only to the Christians, I find western Buddhists as the most unlikely candidates for the Vaishnava outreach programs. Targeting has aggressive connotation tied to hunting, propaganda shows one’s intention is in convincing and exploiting. Once people have a well formed approach to life they are happy with it is very difficult to change their faith.
Most of the devotees I met in life came from a Christian background, some were Jewish, but none were from a Muslim background. Here is a good Buddhist tale that helps to put karma in perspective and seeks to explain that things are not always what they seem. There was once an old man in far eastern Kham known as the Mani Man because day and night he could always be found devotedly spinning his small homemade prayer wheel. The man’s wife, after a long life of virtue and service, had long since departed for more fortunate rebirths. The next week military officers appeared, seeking young conscripts for an ongoing border war. As he sang, the prayer flags fluttered overhead, and the ancient mani wheel, filled with hundreds of thousands of handwritten mantras, just kept turning. Using this type of thinking we must conclude for example that Soviet and German concentration camps which exterminated millions of people happened for a good reason and had nothing to do with volitionary activities of certain people.
This type of misguided thinking reduces everything to reaction only and makes no provision for volitionary action on behalf of living entities. Good illustration as to why such articles about karma are important for devotees to read and discuss.
In general I find the article quite interesting because the simplistic understanding of karma is very common among the devotees, often resulting in undesirable behavior.
Another issue that needs to be raised is the (common among devotees) mixing up of karma with vikarma.
Reality eludes all efforts to reduce it too much, or to use only formalisms to describe it. Neither Tibetan Buddhism nor the institute allow women to achieve the same religious status as men, denying them the highest rank of ordination, bhikkhuni, which is held by tens of thousands of monks. By the story’s dramatic conclusion, readers have met a true holy being, and many may come to agree with Greene that the title’s “strange land” is the world we all inhabit, and that the Swami has come to free us all from our illusions.
One easy proof that karma doesn’t exist lies simply in a successful a—hole that lives happily ever after. What people refer to as karma is that positivity and negativity that you carry around with you after you do something. The reason that some a—holes in the world seem to always fall into great situations, is because they have no conscious.
Urban SamuraiThis blog chronicles the journey from normal man to modern day samurai warrior in the heart of New York City. Everyone talks about karma as though it is some malevolent force of retribution, and usually as it relates to the behavior of others. Let’s just get one thing straight – karma is not a vicious Santa Claus that sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake.
Examples of fixed (dridha) would be the karmas you inherit from your ancestors (think DNA) and your country (think politics and history that shape where you are born and raised).
Both forms of these karmas fall under sanchita-karma, as they stem from the total sum of our karmas, and are carried into our present through prarabdha-karma. Paying off our debts would be far easier if we were also not continually racking up more of them. In instances of criticism, attack, and violence perpetrated against us, we must respond with this in mind. What Patanjali and the ancient sages saw was that suffering was both inevitable and sprouting from the mind, affecting all levels of our human existence. And while every experience of pain is temporary, it is also a lesson. Like a child touching a burning stove, we learn something we did not know before. Every experience of pleasure and pain is temporary and if you want to be a yogi, you must understand that. Vairagya, or dispassion, is a critical concept in Yoga. Many Buddhist texts vehemently claim that in order to pursue a spiritual practice all attachment to our worldly lives must be abandoned. This can seem harsh and extreme; an unreasonable expectation in the lives of most Westerners. When we practice dispassion with joy, we can assign whatever spin we like to our suffering.
Let us consider the dodo: a small flightless bird that had no natural predators and therefore developed no defenses. It is through agami-karma the karma of intention and contemplation, in which we can change not only our future karma, but also our past. The suffering we experience can be exquisite if only we learn to not take the lesson personally, but apply it to the shared suffering of others. I believe this world is capable of so much joy, without the inevitability of the pain that comes when that joy ends.
If we use our own suffering as universal examples of the human experience, and extend compassion to all beings that suffer, we can elevate this world from purgatory to paradise.
Many of you may disagree to most of the content, but it sure can induce thoughts in your mind. Taking refuge to excuses, alcoholism, drugs prevent you from taking good care of your family. Getting head over toes in debt and declaring bankruptcy can help you in short-term but, essentially you are not setting good precedence. When you have money to pay off pay off promptly, do not hold on to some one else’s money. Your email will only be used for subscription, and each email will include a link you may use to unsubscribe at any time. When my son was younger, I’d give away his outgrown outfits to those who had younger boys and when I had my daughter several years later, the outpouring of clothes and hand-me-downs was great! But I am sure there will be a lot of people who only give and never receive anything in return. I agree with the premise, and think it applies within the realm of finance of more importantly in the way we treat others. If another 1000 people give $500 donation each to their local churches, I can guarantee no one would get a anonymous deposit. I feel this is your blog with your helpful feelings and thoughts and you should express them the way you want without disclaiming. Of all the Buddhist [and Hindu] catchwords to have taken popular hold in the West, karma is possibly the most widely used, and the most grossly misunderstood. The commonly accepted usage of karma to represent the universal law of cause and effect, coupled with the notion of rebirth—often commonly, and mistakenly, accepted to mean reincarnation—is often misused in a manner that serves to define a deterministic universe. In many cases, the idea of karma perpetuates the status quo, reinforcing preexisting hierarchical social orders in ways that are reactionary, discriminatory, sexist, and racist. During World War II, Japanese people were told their loved ones were killed not because of poor decision making on the part of hawkish government leaders, but because it was their loved ones’ personal karma to be shot dead, blown up in battle, or burned to death in their homes during bombing raids.
Oppression veiled by wrongheaded ideas of “karmic retribution” mirror the way “the Protestant work ethic” has been used in the United States to scapegoat poor people for their circumstances. Colloquially, however, the term has come to refer to “the law of karma,” a concept the historical Buddha borrowed from the pre-Hindu religious cosmology that prevailed in India during his lifetime. Karma is the foundation and rationale used to support the oppressive and repressive Hindu caste system. The early sangha was an egalitarian collective, and all bhikkus were to be accorded with the same level of respect, regardless of their birth status. A pseudo-Buddhist understanding maintains that whether one’s home is destroyed or passed over is a result of one’s “karma.” But how can one’s prior actions, volitional or otherwise, affect the path of a future tornado? But I don’t think the author has done a very good job of enlightening us about how karma actually works. Actually it is my opinion that his analysis is far more insightful than anything jyotish provides on it’s own.
And she allows you the wisdom to lessen the pain and negative impact of your karma when you show proactive desire to improve yourself.
The author accuses the Vedic systems of making karma as the only factor upon which the universe works, while he obviously has a very meager acquaintance with Vedic knowledge. Above karma there is the Supersoul who is certainly free to intervene in karma and adjust anything according to his will. He fails to mention or understand that Isvara controls Prakriti which is the agency of karma.
He is an elementary school student posing as a professor and spewing forth a diatribe against the Vedic authority due to his obvious ignorance of the knowledge. He has only cited the Padma Purana with regard to the stages of karma from aprarabdha to prarabdha and discussed the extent to which bhakti and Harinama in particular have the power to eradicate karma. I find more aversion to your comment Livingentity than to the article, meager as it may be. Srila Prabhupada spoke like that Sometimes, even in this pure soul I found that language distasteful. It appears that many Hindu concepts and religious attitudes take a very Christian flavor when practiced in the West. Even if the premises and conclusion are flawed, the author is trying to say something relevant in the present about the socio-religious implications of an ancient idea.
Suzuki, whom the author cites, was very socially and thereby worldly motivated more than enlightenment oriented in the classical Buddhist sense. I have found him to be quite unreceptive to any Vaishnava theology and in fact quite aware of Buddhist sunyavada siddhanta and well convinced of the Buddhist beliefs. Still, it can be done by showing them the beauty of bhakti and the wonderful qualities of pure devotees. Father and son lived, free from excessive wants or needs, in one of several rough stone houses near a river on the edge of the flat plains. The neighbors bewailed the loss of the old man’s sole material asset, but the stoic old man just kept turning his prayer wheel, reciting “Om Mani Padme Hung,” Tibet’s national mantra. All the local boys were immediately taken away, except for the bedridden son of the Mani Man. Have neither hope nor fear, expectation nor anxiety; Give thanks for everything, whatever your lot may be. The Christian perspective which permeates our society causes many people to think of karma as a punishment that is imposed on us by some outside force – some sort of universal judge and law enforcer. It seems to be trying to tell the scientists who will listen that things in connection with one another, evolving in time, are not just different in scale from things studied in isolation but fundamentally different in kind.
Not really anyway, not in the way you probably think. I have thought this through, logically and thoroughly. If you do good things for people, you will have this positive energy, feeling great about yourself, and you will attract positive things to you.
We know, even if it’s in the deepest and darkest parts of your mind, that we did something wrong. Confession is when you tell your sins to a priest and he usually tells you to say some prayers to make amends for them. What is the issue, is doing something that gets you to confront yourself with the bad deeds you have done.
Jyotish astrology (also referred to as Hindu Astrology or Vedic astrology) can actually be used as a tool to map our karmas. According to Swami Kailashananda, the role of a guru is to take on and expire karmas on your behalf. And the whole point of Yoga is more than just enlightenment, it is an end to all suffering, not just your own. These kleshas (obstacles) are what keep us mired in samsara (the cycle of death and rebirth), and are synonymous with dukha: suffering. If we stay mired in pain and hide from the lesson, we miss the opportunity to learn and transform. While some confuse dispassion with ‘not giving a shit’, it does not mean we should stop caring about everything.
The people who appear unfortunate and needy by birth are believed to have bad Karma from their previous life.
If your neighbor is richer, make it a motivation to out-pass them by earning more, not by taking wealth away from them. The people who make a difference and impact in the life of others, are those with intent and purpose, not necessarily those with money. I meant to say that in recent history, in modern era of capitalism very rarely a few (also add Nelson Mandela) get influential without money. In this way, karma is used to make logical sense of difference on social levels, providing a rationale for the varying degrees of pain and suffering different individuals experience. Grieving survivors were consoled with the promise that, as a “karmic reward” for their loved ones’ sacrifices for the Emperor and the good of the country, they would be reborn in better circumstances, in (of course) Japan. By rationalizing that, by virtue of their unwillingness to work hard, “the poor” are to blame for their own poverty, Americans can comfortably ignore economic injustice. The dharma is not another convenient ideology or set of superstitions we can use as a shield for our own prejudices and complacency. The derivation of the term karma originates in the Upanishads, a portion of the massive body of Hindu religious writings known as the Vedas.
This perception of karma is inextricably bound to the belief in rebirth, or in the commonest “peasant level” heterodox interpretation, belief in reincarnation. Buddhist doctrine answers such questions by pointing to Irthu Niyama (physical inorganic order or processes, such as seasonal change phenomena, for example, winds and rains), natural chaos, as the causal agent in such circumstances. I am surprised that the author doesn’t acknowledge this, or discuss the ways in which Western Buddhists might also misunderstand karma. I think many would agree that Gaudiya Vaisnavas could do more to rise to such challenges themselves, rather than allowing others to define what yoga, karma, dharma, etc.
Then everyone sang songs of celebration and congratulated the old man on his unexpected good fortune. But the old man, sitting at his beloved son’s bedside just kept turning his prayer wheel around and around while softly muttering gentle Lord Chenrayzig’s mantra of Great Compassion.
Then the neighbors congratulated the old man on his great good fortune, attributing such luck to the good karma accumulated by the old man’s incessantly spinning prayer wheel and the constant mantras on his cracked lips. If you, my son, were an extraordinary child, Off to a monastery as an incarnation they would carry you. Wealth is good, But too soon loses its savor, And can be a burden, a source of quarrel, in the end.
And karma, the idea that what you do will come back to you by way of some mystical force, is just false. And if you do bad things to people, whether you justify them or not in your conscious mind, you will carry this negative energy around with you and will attract negative things. I always felt great walking out of confession and I never really understood why until I was older.
Forgiving yourself for things you don’t think about in your conscious mind is near impossible.
But we now know that it also can cause many illnesses, from mental illness to diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Think of the genocide committed against the Native American, who considered tobacco and corn to be sacred plants. Adridha is a powerful force that allows us to choose not only our actions, but how we perceive the results. Remember, to be a guru one must first be enlightened, and enlightenment means that all personal karmas are expired. I heard Yogi Gupta say “Yoga is doing anything to make the world better.” The practice of Yoga can be that simple. It is our expectations that create these new karmas, regardless whether our desires are met and or thwarted. If we respond in the morally correct way, without any desire for revenge or repudiation, the karma is expired. Leaving our lives to pursue spiritual study and practice is not seen as a blessing, it is seen as madness. Every challenge we encounter is to prepare us for what lies ahead, to allow us to evolve the defenses and discernment needed to navigate a spiritual life.
We can choose to see every experience of suffering as the fuel that feeds the flames of transformation.
Every other soul has lived all the same traumas and humiliations, all the deprivations of joy and freedom. Know that in a blink of an eye it will soon be over, and in the time you have here, practice. Yes sometimes money follows such people, but it is not really a great barometer of influential people. The idea shifts responsibility for such disparity from the “unknown” or “the will of God” to individuals who, according to the “the law of karma,” are held responsible for their own circumstances.
Suzuki criticized those possessing such a backwards understanding of the dharma, even going so far as to label those who subscribe to such beliefs “pseudo-Buddhists” in his book Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, published in 1907.
After all, if “those people” are unwilling to lift a finger to help themselves, why should any of the rest of us? According to modern scholars, the textural body of the complete series was assembled over several centuries, the oldest of which are generally believed to have been codified in the 8th century BCE. It is interesting to note that karma in this context seems to be used far more in the retributive sense than as a rationale for good fortune. In some Buddhist traditions karma is viewed as something accumulated by unenlightened people destined for further rebirth. That the Jones family lost their home and the Smith family didn’t, does not mean that the Jones’ were guilty of some horrible transgressions in some past life.
While I have my doubts about how that works in Buddhism, I do believe it is a core tenant of the tradition. If you feel so strongly about the points the author has raised, it would be good if you could share your superior understanding of the issues he seeks to address. He neither complained nor answered their protestations to fate, but simply nodded his head affably, reiterating what he had said before. No one knows what karma awaits us, But what we sow now will be reaped in lives to come; that is certain.
Let us use a house as a metaphor; the house is a symbol of your personal prarabda-karma, and the furnishings are the karmas of your spouse. He further stated that the bond between Guru and disciple is carried through lifetime after lifetime. Aversion stems from pain.” Happiness and pain are inevitable in our human existence, and imperative to our development and growth. The pain I experienced propelled me away from those people, and farther along my spiritual practice. We need to see our pain as not only our own, but as an opportunity to learn compassion for the suffering of others. Off hand, influential people of mankind like Gandhi, Buddha or Jesus, did not need money to make an impact. This “pseudo-Buddhist” understanding of karma has been used to ignore racism, social injustice and inequality, economic exploitation, sexual abuse, slavery, child abuse, and numerous other crimes against humanity. And, in a broader sense, why should the government support those who have only their own shiftlessness to blame for their situation? The word karma, itself, carries many connotations, both technical (orthodox) and colloquial (heterodox). Colloquially, in both the East and in the West, the term karma is almost universally used to connote a complete sequence of cause and effect—action and its consequence. These traditions view people who have actualized the awakened state of mind, those who are enlightened, as free from generating karma, and therefore from the necessity of rebirth.
Although “karma” and the notion of “justice” are commonly viewed as intertwined, we do not live in a rigidly deterministic universe; chaos functions quite well where we live. I personally don’t agree with all that he has written, but must admit that I do not have much to say on the matter other than what I have written above. Judged from a material point of view, stealing money will give us more money, and giving charity means we have less money. This process digs up those bad deeds from the place you buried them in your mind and forces you to deal with them. Should divorce occur, the spouses pack up their karma (just like the furnishings) and move out. The Guru cannot merge back into the source unless the disciple becomes enlightened as well. In the time I was homeless I found many gurus and studied with them on a one-on-one basis, deepened my practice, and had some of the most intense spiritual experiences of my life.
For centuries in Tibet, it was used to support and maintain a rigidly hierarchical theocratic dictatorship consisting of an elite minority of educated clergy.
This position, of course, assumes that everyone who “works hard” will be economically fulfilled. Within the various Buddhist traditions, the distinctions between these interpretations are rarely discussed, despite divergent definitions among the many sects and schools. In this heterodox interpretation, such action is not necessarily defined as being specifically volitional.
This rests on the mistaken premise that karma means “the law of karma” and that the “law” implies negative vipaka. But if our real wealth is found in the soul and not in our material possessions, theft will impoverish us and charity will enrich us.
The carpets will still have stains and marks from the furniture, the walls may be faded and bear discolorations from pictures and paintings.
We can see in this explanation that the responsibility of the Guru is one of the heaviest burdens to bear.
And as we grow and age, as we decay in our physical form, if we are responsible, it only grows.
The “rags to riches” mythology is a pervasive part of the American subconscious, while the stories of those who work their guts out all of their lives, yet never realize any economic gain, are conveniently glazed over. This dualistic characteristic, which is seldom written about or publicly addressed, is consequently the root of widespread misunderstanding.
There are huge differences between the rebirth principle and the reincarnation principle that are similarly commonly misunderstood in popular “peasant level” heterodox Buddhism.
Those people and families are marginalized, and their life experiences forgotten, because they occur outside of the accepted “work ethic” ideology.
But if children are born from a union, the sharing of karma cannot be undone, as the shared karma is carried forward into the next generation. If you feel like maybe you don’t deserve to be forgiven, do something nice for someone today to make amends for what you did. While maybe you never right the wrong directly to the victim or victims, right the wrong to people who deserved to get a right.
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